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What to expect at interview

Applicants shortlisted through the main recruitment round will be invited to attend a two-day recruitment event at the ICR in Sutton, which takes place at around the end of January each year. The purpose of this event is to find out whether you have the ability, enthusiasm and motivation to succeed at PhD level.

Most critically, this will involve an interview with an academic panel on the Monday, and interviews with individual supervisors on the Tuesday. There will also be a range of talks and activities.

Those applying outside of the main recruitment round will be invited for interview at an appropriate time, normally with the aim of commencing the PhD in October, at the same time as the majority of PhD students.  

Please be aware of the following guidance for interviews.

Before the interview

  • Prepare to talk about your previous research experience
  • You should be prepared for the panel to ask you questions on these so they can assess your understanding of the scientific process and motivation to pursue a PhD
  • You should know about the project(s) for which you have expressed a preference and have some questions prepared

At the interview

You are likely to be asked some or all of the following questions:

  • What really interested you about your degree / degree project?
  • Why do you want to do a PhD?
  • What interests you about the project you have expressed a preference for?
  • What do you intend to do after you have completed your PhD?
  • How will you cope with the challenges and setbacks intrinsic to academic research?
  • How do you cope with pressure and deadlines?

Above all, remember that all students called for interview are going to be highly qualified – so you need to prepare carefully, to ensure your key skills and experience shine through and you stand out from the crowd.

PhD studentships

Applications for our main PhD recruitment round have opened. We’re searching for the brightest minds in cancer research. The deadline for applications is 17 November.

ICR values

Our values – developed together as an organisation – make it clear how each and every one of us work to meet our mission – to make the discoveries that defeat cancer.